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Paying For Privately Installed Irrigation Services In Northern Ghana: The Case Of The Smallholder Bhungroo Irrigation Technology

Akrofi, N.A., Sarpong, D.B., Somuah, H.A.S., Osei-Owusu, Y.
Agricultural water management 2019
affordability, corn, drought, dry season, farm inputs, farmers, floods, focus groups, income, irrigation systems, local government, nongovernmental organizations, prices, rain, regression analysis, wet season, willingness to pay, Ghana
We assess factors influencing farmers’ willingness to pay (WTP) amount for privately installed smallholder irrigation systems in Northern Ghana that conserve water for farming. Northern Ghana has a unimodal rainfall pattern that last for three months with a prolonged dry season. We provide insights into smallholder farmers’ affordability of simple irrigation systems fashioned on build-operate and transfer and how long it would take to breakeven to own the system. We add to the largely paucity in the literature in Northern Ghana on smallholder farmer access to irrigation services. Primary data and focus group discussions from farmers was collected between November 2015 and July 2016 in communities where the technology is installed as pilots and in areas noted for floods during the single rainy season and drought in the dry season. The Contingency Valuation Method was used to elicit information on farmers Willingness To Pay Amount. The Tobit regression model estimated the key factors that would influence their WTP amount whilst the simple investment appraisal technique, payback period, estimated the breakeven point. The mean WTP amount from the farmers was GHS180 ($45) per two seasons (a year) per hectare. Given this mean willingness to pay amount, at baseline, the typical group of five (5) maize farmers can afford to pay to own one BIT after 22 years of life of the technology. That notwithstanding, for sustainability of such a project, there is the need for strong farmer based groups to operate and manage the BIT and for the farmers to access farm inputs, access markets and be able to sell their produce at adequate prices to cover costs and to increase their income. Recommendations directed at NGOs, extension institutions, and local government authorities are to intensify training given to farmers on adoption of irrigation technologies as well as strengthening farmer-based organizations for sustainability and management of such technologies.